For a few brief moments, last night's episode of America's Next Great Restaurant morphed into Project Runway, as contestants created uniforms and then modeled them in a photo shoot. The judges/investors told contestants which item off their menus they would most like to try (sometimes this item was an imaginary one not literally on the contestant's menu, but on the menu dreamed up in the judges' minds....). Members of the public came to sample the dishes and pick the winner. Here are the foods the judges most wanted to see:
Melt Works: a classic grilled cheese sandwich WITH an array of dipping sauces (an idea that Bobby Flay had suggested earlier)
Saints and Sinners: two burgers that illustrate the indulgent vs. healthy restaurant concept (green chili monster burger -- indulgent vs. the knocking heaven's door turkey burger--healthy)
Harvest Sol: a shrimp panzanella salad (on the menu) and shrimp panzanella sandwich (not on the menu -- and an idea that contestant Stephanie was originally resistant about)
Spice Coast: Goan chicken curry (judges advised to also change the dish's name)
Soul Daddy: a new take on chicken and waffles
Grill 'Billies: cherry cola pulled pork sandwich (intriguingly left on the menu even when the creators switched menus from barbecue to grilled)
Saucy Balls: eggplant parmigiana balls in a sandwich
The judges had a huge debate over who should go home. The three weakest for the challenge -- Sandy (Sinners and Saints), Joey (Saucy Balls), and Eric (MeltWorks) each had major problems. Sandy's food was not good and had not been for weeks. The judges suggested Sandy fire her chef. Sandy had no problem with this: "I had a bar and I fired my girlfriend, so I can fire anyone."
For Joey, judges were skeptical about his choices throughout the challenge -- for instance his decision to hold up a huge breadstick in his photo shoot instead of creating a photo that emphasized the meatballs he wants his restaurant to be known for.
In the end, the judges kicked out Eric, who they felt shut down whenever they gave him suggestions. Eric had been working on his grilled cheese restaurant idea for three years and some judges felt that made it harder for him to take risks and be creative.
The winners for the week were Greg & Krystal, aka the Grill 'Billies. Their cherry cola pulled pork sandwich was a hit. (It's made with real cherries and cherry preserves in addition to cherry cola). Before tasting it, judge Curtis Stone said it sounded gross, but even he was won over by the taste, and called it, "very clever".
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If you missed last week's recap, here it is. Looks like Joey skated by yet again, but he'll have to change his Saucy Balls restaurant name. Got any ideas on what the new name should be?